PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh television station WTAE says it has ended its relationship with long-time anchor Wendy Bell over racial comments she posted on Facebook about a mass shooting.
Parent company Hearst Television said Wednesday her comments were “inconsistent with the company’s ethics and journalistic standards.”
Bell speculated about the identities of the two men who fatally shot five people in a Pittsburgh suburb March 9.
In a post shared on Facebook, she started off by saying, “I’ve really had nothing nice to say these past 11 days and so this page has been quiet. There’s no nice words to write when a coward holding an AK-47 hoses down a family and their friends sharing laughs and a mild evening on a back porch.”
Bell went on to say, “You needn’t be a criminal profiler to draw a mental sketch of the killers who broke so many hearts two weeks ago Wednesday.”
The post continued, “They are young black men, likely teens or in their early 20s. They have multiple siblings from multiple fathers and their mothers work multiple jobs. These boys have been in the system before.”
After a social media backlash, Bell apologized, saying her words “could be viewed as racist.”
Bell says she didn’t get a “fair shake.” She says the real story is the toll violence is taking within black communities.
The station’s general manager, Charles Wolfertz, publicly apologized in a video for Bell’s post.
Bell joined WTAE in 1998 and won 21 regional Emmy Awards, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.